He’s here! Welcome to the world, Bruno. And thanks to Billie for the update. 🙂
We have a 3 year old named Gunther William and we are expecting our second boy in June! While we are so excited, coming up with a name for Baby Boy has been a challenge.
A few things:
- We both love the German heritage in Gunther’s name, since our ancestry is primarily German. This isn’t a requirement, but I do love the connection.
- We don’t like anything that is super common or growing in popularity. Oliver, Henry, etc. have been ruled out because of this.
- Baby’s middle name will be Steven, after my husband’s father.
- My favorite names thus far have been Fletcher and Archer.
–My husband’s favorite names thus far have been Sylvester (probably the name we’ll use if we don’t come up with something better) and Sebastian.
Please read on for my response, and leave your thoughtful suggestions in the comments.
Dear Billie –
Congratulations on your second son!
I love that you’re considering Sylvester. It’s a gutsy choice, the kind of name that parents overlook for no good reason. Like Gunther, we all recognize it as a given name. But no one is using it. It peaked way back at the beginning of the 1900s, and left the US Top 1000 entirely after the 1990s.
So it could be perfect.
And yet, Gunther isn’t just a rare name. It’s a bold, assertive name, too. Gunther is a medieval king, a force from legend and opera. I wonder if Sylvester feels a little more gentle?
Archer comes closer to Gunther in terms of strength, but it’s rocketed up the popularity charts. As of 2017, it’s just outside of the current Top 250. As for Sebastian, it’s ranked in the Top 100 since the year 2000. Fletcher falls in the 600s, but I wonder if it’s a preppier, more polished name, not necessarily a logical brother for Gunther?
Having shot down all of your ideas, I guess I’d better come up with some new ones.
Bruno – We tend to think of Bruno as Italian, but it’s roots are actually Germanic, and Saint Bruno of Cologne was born in the German city. Like Gunther, we recognize Bruno instantly. It feels easy to spell and pronounce. But it’s fairly uncommon, at least in the US.
Conrad – Conrad means “brave counsel” and it’s a name worn by German rulers and saints. An earlier generation might have tied Conrad to the musical Bye, Bye Birdie, but today, I think it feels vintage, vaguely German, and strong.
Emmerich – I’m tempted to suggest Emory or Emery, surname names related to this given name. But Emmerich is the more authentically German throwback, a rare name that would fit right in. I’m tempted to spell it Emmeric, because it ends with a -k sound, not a -ch. But maybe that looks incomplete? Another name along the same lines: Aidric.
Everard – Surname-name Everett is rising up the US popularity charts right now. Everard is the given name the led to Everett originally. It comes from Germanic roots, but made its way to English by way of the Normans. I think this one might be tougher to wear than some of the other choices on this list, if only because it’s so very rare.
Hadrian – There’s no German connection here. We know Hadrian as a Roman emperor in the second century. Still, I think it hits the same note as Gunther. One downside: we’d confuse it for the much more popular Adrian, at least some of the time.
Magnus – One of my first thoughts. Magnus comes from the same roots as Maximus, by way of Scandinavia. It’s a grand name with a meaning to match: great. I like that Gunther and Magnus are both northern European names with a lot of backbone, easily recognized, but seldom heard.
Nicanor – This one’s Greek; Nicanor comes from the word for victory – nike. While it was used in the ancient world, it’s quite rare today. Ernest Hemingway named his firstborn John Hadley Nicanor, which is where I first heard it. It’s rare, but probably just on the right side of wearable.
Ramsay, Ramsey – Another surname-name, Ramsey comes from Old English. Ramsay is an equally valid spelling, used in Game of Thrones. While it has nothing to do with rams, I think that sound lends it some power.
Thorsten – Thorsten means Thor’s stone; along with Torsten, it’s heard in Scandinavia, but also in German-speaking countries. It’s nickname-proof, like Gunther, and I like the subtle shared ‘th’ sound between the two names.
Now I’m wondering if I’ve gone too far towards the rarities? My favorite remains Magnus. Gunther and Magnus sound just like brothers to me. I like Bruno an awful lot, too, and if the rare names don’t scare you, I think Nicnaor has potential.
I do want to add this: it’s possible that you’re not settling on Sylvester/Archer/Fletcher/Sebastian because of the slight style difference I mentioned earlier. But it’s equally possible that your style has changed and evolved. So you’re not obligated to match Gunther exactly. They’re human beings, not pieces of living room furniture. So if all of my suggestions fall flat? That might be a good signal to go back to your original list and embrace one of those names for Gunther’s new brother.
Congratulations, and please let us know what you choose!
Readers, over to you! What would you name a brother for Gunther?
Billie Thomas says
Just because you gave us the inspiration for these names, I wanted to let you know that we had our third boy yesterday (a little Valentine baby!) and named him Magnus (nicknamed Gus).
Thank you for these great suggestions! They have helped us more than you know!
OH! Thank you so much for the update. Congratulations + wishing you every joy with your new arrival. (PS – love Magnus – and Gus!)
I wanted to update everyone on our name choice. Bruno Steven was born on June 21st weighing 9 lbs. 8 oz.! He and Gunther and already best friends and our hearts are so happy!
Congratulations! What a great name. Wishing you every joy. 🙂
What about Adler? I think it’s German for eagle
Jonas or Conrad/Konrad!
My husband’s great grandfather was named Gerhardt and being Germanic, rare, and beginning with G, I think it pairs well with Gunther.
I found the names Asher and Dunstan strong sounding pick for a baby boy.
Lisa T. says
Magnus, Thorsten, Caspar and Axel are all excellent suggestions! I live in Germany, and Magnus and Caspar are old names but still currently used for babies here. Thorsten and Axel skew much older in Germany (age 40-60), but if you are not living here then it probably doesn’t matter. I actually like Wolfgang too, however it is very, very old fashioned in Germany (grandfather/great-grandfather era). Currently not used here at all. Actually, I’d put it in the same category as Gunther.
I’ll throw in my suggestions of Karl, Oskar (Oscar), Max, Leonard, Hannes, Gabriel, Franz, Leopold, Frederik, Patrick, Edgar for old/new names that are currently in style in Germany.
Bruno is perfect for a brother for Gunther! Wolfgang too. I also think Dietrich or a form of it, perhaps Diedrick.
Johan or Johannes would be interesting! I have a big soft spot for those. Or Ernst / Ernest, Anders would be great with Gunther!
Just another Nicole says
I like the suggestions of Conrad and Everard too.
Gunther is bold and unique! I love seeing it being used. 🙂
Congrats on baby boy 2!!
Erin Beth says
Conrad is great with the brother name. I also quite like the suggestions of Caspar and Kilian. Good luck!
Sara L. Uckelman says
The one that immediately came to mind was “Caspar”, with “Axel” as a close second. Another slightly more exotic choice would be “Kilian” — the name of an Irish saint who was a missionary to the Germanic tribes, and whose name was adopted into German naming pools as early as the 13th C!
I like the suggestion of Matthis or Matthias that someone else made — matches Gunther nicely, but is also a recognisable American name.
If you want to lean in to the Germanic what about Otto? I know a 10 year old Otto and it wears well.
My grandfather was German and he was Gus. What about August? Gunther and August have some similar sounds but I don’t think they are too close. It depends on whether you use a nickname.
Billie T says
I’m Gunther’s mom!
The name we’re leaning towards now (Abby sent it in an email when she replied to me a few weeks ago) is Magnus – we’d call him Gus. I’m having a bit of trouble with Magnus Thomas (our last name) because I feel like there is such a heavy “s” on the end of them both, plus with the middle name Steven…anyway, that’s my favorite if I can convince myself the S isn’t too much and my husband likes it too!
Lately my husband’s favorite name is Rudolf, but I don’t think I can give a kid that name…they’d be teased all of Christmas season!
I love Magnus but i do feel that it could sound a little bit like a Harry Potter spell with your surname. Although not necessarily a bad thing if you HP like me lol.
If you like Rudolf i really cant see the issie. I get that people we say thing to him at christmas but you think there are thousands of Nicholas’s and Carols and Holly and so many other names connected to Christmas. I love that Rudolf could have a funky nn like Rudi.
Of if you like the thought of Gus it stands alone well. I think the flow sounded strange because the names were both 2 syllables rather than the strong S’s.
Augustus Thomas could work if you wanted something longer or Fergurson nn Gus or Ferg.
Or something completely different sounding like Kristoff or Phinneus
I told my husband about this post and about your husbands like of Rudolf and he randomly came out with Rudiger which is another name id seen but forgot to mention.
The Mrs. says
Do you like Lars? Gunter and Lars feel like brothers. Lars Steven.
Hugh? Hugh Steven. Gunter and Hugh.
Perhaps Alonzo? Gunter and Alonzo. Alonzo Steven.
There’s Dieter. Gunter and Dieter. Deiter Steven.
Best wishes and congrats!
Im actually thinking my own sons name will fit here nicely Herschel, Herschel Steven has a nice ring and Gunther and Herschel as brothers match quite nicely. Gunner and Hershey
Wolfgang!!!!! I wish I had Germanic roots so I could use it
Zena Eve says
I really like Abby’s suggestions of Conrad and Bruno. I do like Sylvester but I think if you do another name with an -er ending you would start a pattern for any future children. The first names that came to mind for me were Fritz (peaceful ruler), Heath (so under used in my opinion) and Edmund.
Brooke Kennel says
I love Germanic names as well! My favorites from Abby’s list are Conrad, Emmerich, and Thorsten. Some of these are a bit “out there,” but I would also add:
Cyrus (not German but a strong ruler)
Godfrey (someone please resurrect this name!)
Julie G says
Loving Magnus, Torsten and Hendrik with Gunther! While I like Ramsay, I think I’d shy away from it because of the Game of Thrones character connection (not that this generation will make that connection!).
Congrats! Can’t wait to hear what you choose!
As someone who lived a while in Germany, I think there are many wearable German names that we rarely hear in the US.
Gunther and Carsten
Gunther and Heinrich
Gunther and Nikolaus
Gunther and Matthias
Gunther and Jonas
Gunther and Hans
Gunther and Caspar
And there are also a lot of Scandinavian names used in Germany, too, such as Hendrik (I love this one). Bjorn. Also, Thorsten would be pronounced Torsten, if you prefer to spell it as it sounds.
Finally, it’s a bit out there, but what about Wolfgang? I sort of love the combo: Gunther and Wolfgang.